United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
E. MENDOZA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court on Defendants Market Traders
Institute, Inc., FX Currency Traders, Inc., and Jacob
Martinez's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 35) and Defendants
Market Traders Institute Financial, Inc., Next Step Financial
Holdings, Inc., EForex, Inc., Isaac Martinez, and Lisa
Estrada's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 36), and
Plaintiff's Response (Doc. 47) thereto.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a party may move
to dismiss the claims against it for “lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction.” “Attacks on subject
matter jurisdiction . . . come in two forms: ‘facial
attacks' and ‘factual attacks.'”
Garcia v. Copenhaver, Bell & Assocs., M.D.'s,
P.A., 104 F.3d 1256, 1260-61 (11th Cir. 1997) (quoting
Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525, 1529 (11th Cir.
1990)). “Facial attacks challenge subject matter
jurisdiction based on the allegations in the complaint, and
the district court takes the allegations as true in deciding
whether to grant the motion.” Morrison v. Amway
Corp., 323 F.3d 920, 925 n.5 (11th Cir. 2003).
“However, where a defendant raises a factual attack on
subject matter jurisdiction, the district court may consider
extrinsic evidence such as deposition testimony and
affidavits.” Carmichael v. Kellogg, Brown &
Root Servs., Inc., 572 F.3d 1271, 1279 (11th Cir. 2009).
“When jurisdiction is properly challenged, a plaintiff
has the burden of showing jurisdiction exists.”
Kruse, Inc. v. Aqua Sun Invs., Inc., No.
6:07-cv-1367-Orl-19UAM, 2008 WL 276030, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Jan.
case arises out of alleged harms to Defendant Market Traders
Institute, Inc., which Plaintiff claims to hold a
fifty-percent interest in by way of stock. Defendants argue,
among other things, that Plaintiff relinquished her
fifty-percent ownership interest during divorce proceedings
with Defendant Jared Martinez. Defendants argue that because
Plaintiff has no ownership interest in the company and
because the alleged harm is derivative of harm to the
company, Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this case.
order to bring a case in federal court, a plaintiff must
establish standing under Article III of the United States
Constitution and, if relying on a federal statute, any
requirements thereof. Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559-60 (1992); United States
v. $38, 000.00 in U.S. Currency, 816 F.2d 1538, 1544
(11th Cir. 1987). To establish Constitutional, or Article
III, standing, a plaintiff must show: “1) that he
personally has suffered an actual or prospective injury as a
result of the putatively illegal conduct; 2) that the injury
can be fairly traced to the challenged conduct; and 3) that
the injury is likely to be redressed through court
action.” Saladin v. City of Milledgeville, 812
F.2d 687, 690 (11th Cir. 1987). Statutory standing is
“a stricter standing requirement that is analogous to,
and not neatly distinguishable from, the injury element of a
legal claim” that is imposed by Congress. Advanced
Cartridge Techs., LLC v. Lexmark Int'l, Inc., No.
8:10-cv-486-T-23TGW, 2011 WL 6719725, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Dec.
argue that Plaintiff cannot allege a sufficient injury
because she was contractually obligated to assign any
interest she held in Market Traders Institute, Inc. to Jared
Martinez. It is undisputed that Plaintiff entered a partial
marital settlement agreement with Jared Martinez that
obligated her to transfer her fifty-percent ownership
interest in Market Traders Institute, Inc. to Jared Martinez,
who would then transfer his entire ownership interest to
Jacob and Isaac Martinez. (See Stipulated Order,
Doc. 35-2, at 4). The partial marital settlement agreement
was approved by the state court presiding over the
dissolution of marriage proceedings. (Id. at 6).
Nevertheless, Plaintiff contends that she has not assigned
the shares in accordance with the agreement. (Pl.'s
Decl., Doc. 72-1, ¶ 7). Defendants have not disputed the
assertion that Plaintiff's legal ownership of the shares
has not been terminated. Furthermore, the state court denied,
without prejudice, a motion to enforce the agreement. (May
21, 2013 Order, Doc. 35-2, at 8). Accordingly, while it
appears that Plaintiff's retention of the shares is in
violation of the parties' agreement, it is not clear that
the agreement is or has been deemed legally enforceable
against Plaintiff, and therefore, it is not clear that
Plaintiff had sufficient protectable interest in the shares
to have suffered a cognizable injury. Thus, Plaintiff has not
met her burden of establishing standing as she has not
established that she suffered an injury in
assuming Plaintiff had sufficiently established an ownership
interest in the shares, this Court would still lack authority
to hear Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff has asserted one
claim for violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C.
§ 1961 et seq. Plaintiff alleges that she was
damaged by the diminution in value of Market Traders
Institute, Inc., which resulted in a devaluing of her shares
of that entity. In other words, Plaintiff alleges a
derivative RICO claim for harm to Market Traders Institute,
Inc. However, the Eleventh Circuit has expressly held that a
plaintiff that “primar[il]y allege[s] injuries
flow[ing] from her status as a shareholder and the diminution
in the value of her shares” lacks standing to pursue a
RICO claim absent allegations that the plaintiff suffered a
harm distinct from the other shareholders as a result of
racketeering activities directed toward her. Harris v.
Orange S.A., 636 F. App'x 476, 481-83 (11th Cir.
2015); see also Beck v. Prupis, 162 F.3d 1090, 1096
n.10 (11th Cir. 1998); Bivens Gardens Office Bldg., Inc.
v. Barnett Banks of Fla., Inc., 140 F.3d 898, 906 (11th
Cir. 1998). Plaintiff has not alleged that the purported
conspirators targeted her specifically or that she is
complaining of an injury unique to her. Therefore, Plaintiff
has not alleged a cognizable claim. Plaintiff has not
established standing, and this case will be dismissed without
prejudice for want of jurisdiction.
accordance with the foregoing, it is ORDERED and ADJUDGED as
Defendants Market Traders Institute, Inc., FX Currency
Traders, Inc., and Jacob Martinez's Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 35) is GRANTED in part.
Defendants Market Traders Institute Financial, Inc., Next
Step Financial Holdings, Inc., EForex, Inc., Isaac Martinez,
and Lisa Estrada's ...